Sisyphus Quarterly Volume One Number 2 - Edited by Christopher Corbett-Fiacco - Click Here - and the Poetry Collection The Faithful Heart by Christopher Corbett-Fiacco - Click Here - are available for purchase @ Amazon.com's Createspace Publishing House.
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- CCF (Chris [Christopher Corbett-Fiacco])
In Porto Loko, Siérra Léoné, Sweetie Sweetie had no choice.
MawMaw gone and Papa gone and Dada dead and Sissis
and now Mama coughing bloody
-- rollypolly eyes ablaze, aglaze, all agoggy heavenward --
body all akimboherkyjerk.
When the white car with the pritty blinky red light came
they lifted Mama in
and Sweetie Sweetie climbed behind,
pulling Mama’s hot hand to her cheek.
A pox on her house
they said sadly
-- openly --
and whispered them
behind cupped hands
as if to ward it off
And though Sweetie Sweetie still was bright as daylight,
-- not even Auntie Bee or Auntie Vee or Uncle No --
In Porto Loko, Siérra Léoné, Sweetie Sweetie had no choice.
So when the white car with the pritty blinky red light came,
they lifted Mama in
and Sweetie Sweetie climbed behind
and Mama coughing bloody spittle
and her rollypolly eyes agoggy heavenward and all akimboherkyjerk
-- pulling Mama’s hot hand to her chapped lips --
Sweetie Sweetie wouldn’t meet their eyes.
bright as daylight
Sweetie Sweetie had no choice: none
-- not even Auntie Bee or Auntie Vee or Uncle No --
MawMaw gone and PaPa gone and Dada dead and Sissis
and now Mama’s trembly hot hand at her chapped lips
in the white car with the pritty blinky red light
Sweetie Sweetie wouldn’t meet their eyes.
Sweetie Sweetie had no choice.
-- But --
strong and certain
gods and she would see that Mama smiled again, and laughed,
and drenched a thick thick slice of black bread in that gravy
from that big pot
deep into the little blue bowl that was Sweetie Sweetie’s
little blue bowl
Sweetie Sweetie had forgotten
in the fumbling tumbling hurry to the white car with the pritty blinky red light
the little blue bowl -- her little blue bowl
-- But --
surely Auntie Bee or Auntie Vee or Uncle No would go
and get her little blue bowl
Sweetie Sweetie would again have at a thick thick slice of black bread
drenched in Mama’s gravy from that big pot
Mama smiling -- laughing -- when they get home
even if they hadn’t come for Sweetie Sweetie
in Porto Loko, Siérra Léoné
everybody needs a bowl.
04/12/15: why the doughy, pasty-faced bush retread named jeb will (a) not be the rupuglicanazi nominee for president in 2016 because repugs in the amrican souf will not vote for him in the primaries when they’ve got other candidates they can vote for (candidates who are genuine conservatives with lily white families) or (b) will be the repuglicanazi nominee for president in 2016 but will not capture the prize as he’ll be so distasteful to and disliked by southern and swing-state repugs that they will not make a special point of going out in droves to attempt to make sure he beats the democrap (even if s/he is [probably] hillary rodham nixon – unless of course ms rodham nixon’s erased emails pop up during the general election campaign and actually prove that she has lied to congress and the american people and the rest of the world about bengazi [if indeed she has lied – and who amongst us knows that she hasn’t – or feels entirely secure in believing that she hasn’t?] – which, let’s face it, could happen – she has, after all, just like tricky dick – and before even being president – or even the party nominee for president – ensured that previously recorded material has been erased from the ‘recorder’ – email on the hard drive being the 21st century equivalent of voices on 1970’s era reel-to-reel tape recorders)…
(a) he’s married to a mexican – not a born-in-the-usa mexican-american latina, but a woman who was actually born in and is from mexico – and looks like it (although of course she’s been an american citizen for years – ever since marrying him…) and he’s the one who fathered ‘the little brown ones’ and, while i’m no racist/ethnicist, personally, how likely is it, really, that repugs in the amrican souf are going to vote for the guy who’s married to a mexican so she can become first lady and, along with ‘the little brown ones’ (no matter how handsome the oldest boy is – thanks entirely to that latin bloodline – let’s be honest) they can become the first family of the usa and speak spanish to all of the ‘illegals’ out there – right from the white house rose garden?...
(b) he’s a flip-flopper just like daddy ‘read my lips no new taxes’ bush – who signed a tax increase during the 2nd or 3rd year of his first and only term in office… and a political bumbler just like little bro gee dubya of the ‘mission accomplished’ banner (but not president while bumbling, which makes a diff) and he has most recently (and most piss-off-ing-ly to southern repugs) flip-flopped with regard to indiana’s so-called ‘freedom of religion’ law by having praised it on the tuesday preceding the wednesday fan-hitting shitstorm, and then, on thursday, proceeded to praise the repug governor for himself flip-flopping by ‘assuring’ the nation and the world that the law was ‘not intended to’ and would be amended such that it would not, discriminate against them homoshekshules (fuckin’ please, huh?)…
(c) most recently (and there’ll be more reasons, i am sooo shuuur – i’m just riffing a bit today) – this amusing and (as an old friend used to say) jeeeeee-U-cy little tidbit for his fellow repuglicanazi presidential wannabes and their minions to play around with TEEEEEEEEE hee heeeeeeeee…
from a column by ruben navarette this past week, entitled, “What’s Spanish for ‘oops’?”
“As an assimilated Mexican-American, I have no idea. But I bet Jeb Bush does since his Spanish is much better than mine. The former Florida governor went to Twitter this week to claim that he simply made a mistake when he filled in the bubble and identified himself as ‘Hispanic’ on a 2009 Miami-Dade County voter registration application. Sure, compadre. Whatever you say. This story won’t do much to assuage the concern of nativists that the likely 2016 presidential candidate is soft on immigration and not worried enough about the Hispanicizing of the United States…”
oh, and did I mention?...
Suicide Claims Shining Student Draven Rodriguez: Schenectady Senior Grabbed Spotlight in Yearbook Photo
by Steve Barnes [02/21/15: Schenectady, New York]
Draven Rodriguez, a quick-witted senior at Schenectady High School who made national news last fall when a proposed yearbook portrait of him with his cat against a background of laser beams went viral online, died Thursday at home. He was 17. The cause was suicide, his parents said.
Although his humor and intelligence were readily apparent, Rodriguez was more cherished by family and schoolmates for his easy facility for friendship.
"He made friends wherever he went," said Rodriguez's father, Jonathan Stewart. "He had friends all over the country — people he'd met at youth-leadership conferences, online, just around town."
Among those was Reza Zand, co-owner of the Schenectady restaurant Persian Bite, which Rodriguez frequented partly for the food and partly to talk to Zand and his brother, Arousol, whose stories as emigres from Iran intrigued him.
In a Facebook post from Jan. 29, Rodriguez quoted Reza Zand as saying, "We are all people, and we should help each other out," then commented, "It was simple, but really powerful. He's definitely one of my favorite people in all of Schenectady."
"He had an empathy for the world and for other people that I think is rare in kids his age," said Stewart. "It was wonderful to see."
Born Oct. 6, 1997, at Bellevue Hospital in Niskayuna, Rodriguez had his rebellious phase early: At 9, he wanted to dye his hair green, which his parents allowed as long as he brought home excellent grades. He kept his green locks until they no longer appealed to him, and by middle school his dark hair sported a short, preppy cut.
Rodriguez had omnivorous interests — teaching himself guitar, learning words from a Russian-English dictionary, rowing crew, making smoked ribs and other barbecue fare with Stewart, computers — and most were characterized by a single-minded determination to achieve what he set out to do. Which partly explains his briefly famous cat-and-lasers photo.
"He wasn't trying to stir things up with it," said Stewart. "He honestly just wanted a silly photo because he had a great sense of humor." Working with Schenectady-based photographer Vincent Giordano, Rodriguez created an intentionally cheesy, laser-streaked portrait of himself holding Mr. Bigglesworth, a long, bushy stray cat who'd gotten into the family home and never left. Anticipating resistance from the school to his desire to have it included among the senior class' formal portraits, Rodriguez posted the photo online to garner support. It blazed around the Internet and was mentioned by Jimmy Fallon in a "Tonight Show" monologue and by talk-show host Ellen Degeneres.
Citing school policy, Schenectady High's principal, Diane Wilkinson, rejected it for the portraits section but participated in the making of a similar photo in which she posed with her rescue Chihuahua, Rodriguez, and he with Mr. Bigglesworth. It will get its own page in the yearbook with a message about the importance of adopting pets through shelters and rescue organizations. Stewart said Friday he believed the page still would be in the yearbook.
Rodriguez's Facebook posts ranged from thoughts on world affairs to struggling with the lid on a jar of peanut butter to his latest efforts on guitar, all delivered with proper spelling and punctuation, including a correct deployment of hyphens that was atypical for someone his age.
"He was a grammar Nazi," said Stewart with a laugh. "He'd always find mistakes on signs, menus — 'Look, they're not using the apostrophe right!' He loved the English language."
In middle school, Rodriguez so frequently corrected mistakes by an English teacher that, when an observer was coming to the class for the day, she asked him to refrain, at least verbally. According to Stewart, the teacher told Rodriguez, "Please don't say anything during class. If you want to, you can write down any mistakes and show it to me afterward." He did.
Rodriguez is survived by Mr. Stewart; his mother, Melissa Petersen-Stewart; his 11-year-old sister, Lily Stewart; his biological father, Eric Rodriguez, and the Rodriguez family; and many other family members. Funeral arrangements were incomplete Friday night.
02/03/15: a facebud asked, “do you ever feel like you want to follow Ramón - either consciously or subconsciously?” to which i replied:
“few weeks ago i wrote a poem i titled, 'i turned a corner' -- and i have. i almost never cry anymore when i think of him or even the manner of his death, i almost always remember him with absolute happiness and delight at who and what he was and that he was in my life and loved me so much and i loved him as i never had anyone else. but late yesterday afternoon i was watching a couple of little birdies on my balcony picking at the stuff i'd thrown out there for them after the big snowstorm, and it was a delightful tiny moment i wished i could have shared with ramon because he loved non-human animules as much as i do, and i did start crying again because i not only truly miss him and because my life is emptier in a way i'd never known before, not even being able to call him up and talk to him, but i realized that it's still true that, even believing as i do that we are organisms which happened somehow to have evolved and that when the organism (the body) dies, the consciousness dies too and there's no afterlife, there's nothingness and we no longer exist in any form (i hope that's not true and that there's some form of consciousness -- i'd personally just like to sort of mingle with the consciousness of those i've loved, but i don't think so) i realized that it's still true that, even believing that, as i do -- if i knew that i could live a decent life to age 100, which is 47 yrs from now, i would trade it for one minute, just one full minute, snuggling ('spooning') in bed with ramon, him sleeping soundly and me snuggled up behind him just listening to him breathing soundly, no words, no counting off seconds, just lying there with him fully appreciating and experiencing that moment, and then i could just disappear into nothingness and that would be okay. i'm tearing writing and thinking about it, but that's the case. i hope that one day i'll think about it and say, 'no, i really wouldn't trade the rest of my life for that' and i anticipate that will probably be the case one day (if i live to a ripe old age, at any rate) but now i honestly understand how widows and widowers (against whose loss mine doesn't even compare) still cry and miss the spouse yeeeeeeeeeeears later, even sometimes for the entire rest of their lives. my grandma corbett married my grandfather at 26 and was widowed at 52, died at 76 and we've always found it interesting that she lived 1/3 of her life single, 1/3 married, and 1/3 widowed, and she had almost half a dozen men propose to her in her widowhood but she never went on a date or was interested in any of 'the old bucks' as she called them (she was a wonderful storyteller -- probably where i get it from -- if indeed that's what i am and not merely verbose) and now i wonder if, even 25 yrs later, she cried at times over his loss. he was there to 'give away' only 1 of his 4 daughters and saw only 1 of an eventual 17 grandchildren, so i can only imagine that her loss, not having him beside her for almost every major life event after 50, was profoundly sad. and so it goes, eh?
"i was 7 yrs old when i felt so 'sad' (because i didn't know the word 'depressed') that it occurred to me that i could kill myself -- before that point in time, although i'd been 'sad' for no apparent reason before (life is the same today as it was yesterday, so wtf, you know what i mean?) it hadn't occurred to me that a person could kill himself. up until that moment, i'd thought that you basically had to live as long as you lived until 'god' was 'ready to take you'... all my life i've lived with depression including major depressive episodes with much suicidal ideation which has moved into 'bi-polarity' (little lol -- bipolar2) as i've gotten older, as well as anxiety disorder with panic attacks, and obsessive/compulsive disorder. LOL. i can't help but laugh at that list sometimes when i'm in a good mood. i also have a minor tendency to 'self-mutilate' by biting my inner lips until they bleed and picking at my thumb cuticles until they're honestly disgustingly raw meat (i've decided in my middle age to come out of the various other closets in which i've hidden over the years, such as also the one in which i hid 5 yrs of childhood-into-early-adolescent sexual molestation/rape by a presumed friend of the family) as there's nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of -- this is how my brain and body developed (and what's happened to me during my lifetime) and i'm doing my best to live in this body (and with these 'issues') as best i can. i also have lots of family members with various forms of mental illness (a phrase i'm neither afraid of using nor embarrassed to use). my twin brother is bipolar 1 and i have an older brother who is also bipolar2 and my youngest brother also -- and that's the last 4 of 7 brothers (the 3rd oldest of whom had a history of schizophrenia which culminated in a psychotic break during which he attempted to murder the eldest, who did not die, thank zeus, and has actually reconciled with our 3rd oldest brother -- zeus be praised). oh, did i forget to mention attention deficit disorder?... and i also often joke that i suffer from opd -- obnoxious personality disorder -- but there's really no known effective treatment for that except trying to catch myself before i get REALLY obnoxious. now, having written all of that, i have to say that i thought for quite a moment before i posted my 'i hope his kid is bipolar' comment. but then i did it, intentionally. not to be funny or insulting or want to punish a kid for a father's shitheadedness (i'm not the god of abraham, after all) but because, while being bipolar is often truly horrible, it is not the worst thing that one can have in this life (i can see and hear and speak and touch and walk and dance and swim and as far as i know at the moment, i have no fatal disease and am also -- forgot this one -- an alcoholic/addict with 17 yrs clean and sober) but 'bipolarity' is not necessarily fatal, and frankly, in my opinion and experience, the ONLY time that assholes like this guy change their tune and see the reality and the humanity of the situation is when 'one of their own' gets 'it' (whatever 'it' may be). pro-life extremist jesse helms raged against stem cell research and did everything he could in the senate to stop it during the 70s and 80s... until his daughter became diabetic... then he suddenly somehow saw that there was some selective distinction between abortion and stem cells and some reasonable reason to experiment with stem cells if by doing so, the medical community could learn something that could save somebody's life -- somebody like, oh, his daughter? there've been others who've done the turnaround re all sorts of shit, raging against us horrible libtards and gays and disabled whoever... until one of their own comes out of the closet or is diagnosed with whatever 'it' is, and then, lo and behold, they've seen the light that comes from treating human beings humanely even if they've got something, or are something, which the individual under question, doesn't, or didn't previously, 'understand' (which reminds me of an in-law's father's remark that he didn't 'understand' them homosexuals, to which one of my brothers was tempted to say, but didn't, 'what's to understand? they like people of the same sex the way we like people of the opposite sex. nobody knows why, it's just the way they are...' and now one of his grandsons has come out of the closet. funny how that happens sometimes, no?) anyhow, that's why i wrote what i wrote and why i stand by it. put simply, it's because the ONLY way in which somebody like this prick sees the light and changes his tune and realizes that, after all, there really are mental illnesses which are every bit as real and even at times more dangerous than physical illnesses they can see oozing shit rather than, what they can't see for themselves, psychologically and emotionally buzzing and broiling and burning us alive inside who suffer from it, well, the only way they 'get it' is when one of their own is or comes down with it. no amount of talking and trying to make them understand does anything, at all, ever. so yeah, i hope his kid is bipolar, because that human being will probably do more in his or her lifetime to effect social and political change than most of us ever will, just by being the kid whom a shithead like this guy has fathered and loves and cares about and gets to understand in a way that he'll never care about or understand any of the rest of us who are living with this shit outside of his home. either that or maybe i hope he himself just gets some really itchy painful colorectal cancer. (which he recovers from, of course -- i'm no monster!)
01/26/2015: a facebud posted the article below, to which i replied: what we really need to do, and if that rand mcnally or whatever his name is, were to suggest such a thing, i think he just might get elected... stop all foreign aid for one full fiscal year (sorry, friends, we really do care, it's just that we really kinda need that money here this year, but i'm sure y'all be fine without it for a while) and contemplate/rejigger the numbers in order to try to figure out exactly what we're getting for all of that money spent and ratchet it down -- what's going to happen, they're all going to go fleeing into the arms of vlad the impaler putin? israel's nukes will go bad? methinks not. meanwhile, also, i've been saying for ages, floating a modified flat tax in which all income is income and there are deductions only for children and one mortgage/rent, period. then everybody is treated exactly the same within each tax bracket -- tax bracket's being necessary so as not to take 10% of somebody's income of $10,000 leaving them with $9,000 to live on while taking $100,000 of $1,000,000 and leaving them with $900,000 while, let's face it, nobody's salary/earnings are based upon any constitutional framework and nobody earns money in a vacuum (the ceo of this or that company earns what s/he earns because the workers are working well, or not, and americans are spending their money there, or not). if hillary said such a thing, i think she'd be a shoo-in. (a) graduated flat tax, and (b) one-year cessation of foreign aid with review. shit, i'd be willing to bet a candidate for president running with just those two promises would garner 60% or more of the vote, ayum.
UN SLAMS ISRAEL'S DEMOLITION OF PALESTINIAN HOMES - by Renee Lewis [01/24/15]
The United Nations has slammed Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and unfair, after a series of demolitions this week left dozens of Palestinians—mostly children—homeless.
"In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless," the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement issued late Friday. "Some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families."
"Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel's obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately," said OCHA.
The demolitions occurred in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron, as well as East Jerusalem.
Last year, Israel carried out a record number of home demolitions in parts of the West Bank designated as Area C, which are under full Israeli military control, according to OCHA. Other parts of the West Bank, Areas A and B, are occupied by Israel but under the civil administration of the Palestinian Authority.
"In 2014 ... Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people — the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008," the U.N. office said.
Israel did not respond to a request for comment by Al Jazeera at the time of publication. However, sources told Palestinian news site Ma’an that the demolitions were for "security purposes" and because the homes were constructed without permission.
Israel has justified past demolitions by stating that the targeted homes were built without the required permits — which only Israeli authorities can issue. But Palestinians and rights groups allege that Israel routinely denies Palestinians permits so as to force them to leave desirable areas, including East Jerusalem. These Palestinians say they are essentially forced to build homes without authorization.
“The occupation simply does not want us here. We are not welcome in our own city, Jerusalem,” Rebhi Dari, one of the recently displaced homeowners, told The Jerusalem Post.
“They are fighting our steadfastness – that is why they ask for large amounts of cash for some paper work,” he added. “Approving an application for a construction permit takes years and ends up being denied.”
In its statement on Friday, OCHA echoed Dari’s concerns about housing discrimination in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"The planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits," the statement said. "As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met."
In contrast to Israel's restrictive housing policy for Palestinians in Area C, Israeli settlers "enjoy expansive allocations of land, detailed planning, hookup to advanced infrastructure and a blind eye regarding illegal construction," Israeli rights group B’tselem has said.
"From 2002 through 2010, only 176 construction permits were issued to Palestinians [in Area C], at least 15,000 residential units were built in settlements during that same period, with or without permits," said a statement on B'tselem’s website.
All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and other territories occupied since the Six Day War in 1967 are illegal under international law. Their continued development has been a longstanding obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Today, there are more than 100 Israeli-government-sanctioned settlements and 100 unsanctioned settlement outposts in the West Bank, housing an estimated 515,000 Israelis, according to B’tselem.
January 23, 2015: if the government insists upon continuing to be hardheadedly intent upon spending what will end up being millions and millions of dollars over the course of the next twenty years just to execute this pathetic mixed-up teenaged terrorist murderer of 3 people (the usa doesn't execute people for assault -- even for blowing people's limbs off -- so that's the actual victim count with regard to crimes committed for which, when -- let's face it, it's not a matter of 'if' anyhow -- he's convicted, he'll face the death penalty) instead of accepting a life-without-parole plea deal which will very shortly render him a forgotten nobody (be honest, when was the last time you actually thought of this kid or the bombing itself?) instead of an islamic extremist cult hero and martyr -- then they've at least got to agree to move this trial, probably out of massachusetts itself, where he cannot possibly get a fair trial with regard to a bombing in front of the boston public library which every schoolchild in the commonwealth of massachusetts has visited at least once -- the site of the finish line of the perennial marathon watched around the world year after year, which EVERYBODY in massachusetts obviously knows about intimately as it really does capture the world's attention as well as entrants from around the world and falls on the state holiday known as patriot's day, on which almost everybody has the day off to enjoy and check in on the status of the marathon if they don't actually actively follow its course and progress (this non-sportsman lived in boston [wonderful city, marvelous historicity and gorgeous architecture but, let's face it, socially problematic and horrific in winter], so he does know whereof he writes). just sayin'. - ccf
SURVEYS SHOW BIAS OF POTENTIAL JURORS IN BOSTON BOMBING TRIAL [by Katharine Q. Seelye / NYT 01/22/15]
(Boston) One potential juror said she was biased against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because he is Muslim. “I already feel that he’s guilty,” she said.
Another choked back tears as she said she was a neighbor of Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy who was killed in the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon, for which Mr. Tsarnaev is standing trial.
A third seemed too eager to serve, as if seeking celebrity for participating, while a fourth, a biologist, told the judge he doubted he had “the personal constitution” to consider the death penalty — even for Boston’s most loathed suspect.
Jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing case is proving to be far more complicated than anticipated: A spokesman for Federal District Court here said Thursday that the target date of Jan. 26 for opening statements was “not realistic” because many potential jurors must still be questioned about their views.
Confronted with the difficulty of finding impartial jurors, Mr. Tsarnaev’s defense team asked the court on Thursday, for the third time, to move the trial from Boston. Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. has rejected their previous requests, but this time, Mr. Tsarnaev’s lawyers presented some startling statistics about the jury pool.
Of the 1,373 prospective jurors who filled out screening questionnaires this month, the defense said, 68 percent said they already believed that Mr. Tsarnaev was guilty.
“This kid is from another country and kills innocent people!” one person wrote.
The defense also said that 69 percent of the potential jurors had said they had a personal connection to the case.
One of them, the defense said, was an emergency room doctor who treated Mr. Tsarnaev after he was apprehended. The doctor also treated Mr. Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, who is believed to have participated in the bombing and died after a night of mayhem.
“My friend was there and got blown up,” another prospective juror wrote in an answer on the questionnaire. “Additionally, her child was severely wounded and is still dealing with residual surgeries.”
Yet another wrote that a friend had lost both legs and that the friend’s daughter had been hurt, adding, “Wore Boston Strong sweatshirt to jury duty today.”
At this rate, the defense wrote, “prejudice and personal connections are so pervasive, the remnants from which a jury can be cobbled together are not representative of the community in any sense.”
Judge O’Toole has said that if finding an impartial jury proves too difficult, he will reassess his position on moving the trial. He also criticized the defense team, saying that its disclosure of information found in the confidential questionnaires was improper, and he ordered sealed the motion that included responses from the jurors.
Judge O’Toole had planned to question 40 prospective jurors a day, or 200 in five days. But Thursday, after the first five days, just 72 people had been interviewed. It is not known who among them may have been excused permanently or might be recalled for further questioning.
The process is particularly slow because the trial is a high-profile federal death penalty case. It requires close questioning of potential jurors for prejudice.
A death penalty case comes with an additional catch: Jurors must be willing to sentence the defendant to death. They are not required to, but they must be open to it. Anyone who firmly opposes the death penalty therefore cannot serve on the jury.
Massachusetts has little experience with modern death penalty cases. It is one of 18 states that have abolished capital punishment, and the last execution here was carried out in 1947. Mr. Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal crimes, 17 of which carry the death penalty if he is convicted. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
“Eastern Massachusetts has a long and well-chronicled history of opposition to the death penalty,” said Daniel S. Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University. “So this means that many of the remaining acceptable people who are not dismissed on the basis of having an opinion or having a connection will be disqualified because of their moral opposition to the death penalty.”
He called this problematic. “It means that people who are informed and interested in what’s going on are considered to be ill-equipped to evaluate it,” he said.
In its motion to move the trial, the defense said that 26 percent of the initial jury pool had written in their questionnaires that they thought Mr. Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty; 22 percent said he should not and 46 percent said they were not sure.
Of the 72 potential jurors questioned orally so far, perhaps a third or more have indicated that they oppose the death penalty.
But rather than dismiss them outright, Judge O’Toole has often questioned them further to see if their opposition is absolute or if they might reconsider under certain circumstances.
“The only thing I could think of is if someone killed one of my children,” a retired dental hygienist said Thursday. “Then I’m not so sure.”
Another potential juror, a theologian who teaches at a Catholic college, said he could not impose the death penalty “under any circumstances.” He said he worried that if he were selected, he might be denied tenure if his colleagues thought he had voted to sentence Mr. Tsarnaev to death. “They would wonder what I know about Catholic social ethics,” he said.
Judge O’Toole has also questioned jurors extensively on other topics. Many people were interviewed at length, including those who said they believed Mr. Tsarnaev was guilty and wanted him put to death. Yet another concern cited by Mr. Tsarnaev’s lawyers were stealth jurors who might have an agenda — becoming a celebrity or writing a book — and who seem eager to be picked.
One woman questioned appeared overly enthusiastic. “I’m ready to do this,” she said brightly. Another woman said that she and her boyfriend had planned an R.V. trip but that they could stay in town. She even offered to park the R.V. near the courthouse so she could be readily available.
01/22/15: reply to a facebud's post of a poem his mom wrote on the 12th anniversary of his dad's death: "i lost the love of my life 18 months ago in an accidental drunk drowning in his pool (which carries its own kind of pain -- he drowned drunk in the pool the afternoon before the morning he was going into rehab having just realized he was alcoholic -- and i'm 17 yrs sober and was going to help him so much... ugh) -- i dreamed of him last night and it was horrible -- in the dream, i was holding out hope that he wasn't dead and went to the airport to pick him up as he was scheduled to visit me, but he wasn't to be found and then i remembered his mom's voice telling me he was dead, then he was visiting me from the dead and it was so bittersweet i was crying, woke up crying, fell back asleep and had to ask him not to visit me like this anymore because it was too painful for me, even knowing that by doing so, i was sending him back to the blackness of death from which he'd taken a reprieve to visit me. and i can't even imagine losing a spouse. i've learned something close to what widows/widowers know, and for the first time actually feel that i know some of what my grandma corbett must have endured -- she spent 1/3 of her life single, 1/3 married to my grandfather, and 1/3 a widow and a cousin said she remembers attending a mass for my grandfather some 10 yrs after his death and she was standing there just sobbing with wracking sobs her whole body shaking. now your mom tells us that even after this many years, it's still there. i know that my loss is nowhere as painful or heavy as theirs. ramon and i were together for 8 yrs and best friends for 15 but there was always the hope we'd get back together and i believe we would have with his recovery with alcoholism and the ways in which we'd both changed over the years. but to know how painful it still is for your mom and others like her is truly horrible. life is so painful in so many ways. but i'm sure she takes her deepest joy in her children and, probably by now (?) grandchildren. it's all we really can do, huh?" [ccf]
01/20/15: this morning, a facebud posted:
American Film Director Michael Moore Is Back In The News! He recently tweeted these exact words: "My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse" He Also tweeted: "But if you're on the roof of your home defending it from invaders who've come 7K miles, you are not a sniper, u are brave, u are a neighbor." And finally, he twitted: "Hmm. I never tweeted 1word bout AmericanSniper/ChrisKyle. I said my uncle killed by sniper in WWII; only cowards would do that 2 him, others"
to which, i replied:
wow, 100 posts already and it's only 10:00am est. it's always sadly amused and saddened me how the exact same stmt/reality of life can be applauded 'here and now' and booed 'then and there.' re 'american sniper' and the sniper himself as well as nationalism/militarism: (a) is anything and everything a-ok (or at least 'excusable in the crucible of war' if'n when 'our guys and gals' do it to them but horrific if'n when 'they' do it to us? seems so, eh? (b) is everybody in the military automatically a hero deserving of accolades and benes for the rest of their lives while their brothers and sisters cleaning toilets are lucky to get a minimum wage that would have provided a living wage 40 yrs ago but doesn't anymore? or only those who actually fight in a war, or all of those in a war zone during fighting even if many were only in the office in the green zone, or, or, uhm... well, you get my drift, no? (c) is somebody a hero if s/he is an egotistical immature ass who's jumped at the chance to live a real-life video game instead of play-acting from the couch, doesn't know or care much at all about the political situation/ramifications for the nation in the long run, etc, spends a year or two in a combat zone and comes out forever damaged? deserving of sympathy, absolutely, but a hero? (d) isn't there a diff between us invading 'them' (an offensive war in which we’ve actually invaded their country?) and them hitting us first (a defensive war in which we’re protecting us and ours)? there is a difference, isn’t there? (e) thinking about it objectively, snipers are probably the best-protected and least 'heroic' of all fighters -- they're pretty much hiding out, they’re not out in the open fighting, and they basically sit there until they get a ‘kill shot’ and then just shoot somebody in the head – they’re probably actually doing less ‘work’ than the guy/gal back in the office in the green zone or driving the general from meeting to meeting, no? (f) the ‘american sniper’ was murdered by a fellow former fighter whom he’d taken to the shooting range to deal with his ptsd (great idea, huh?) – live by the gun, die by the gun? (g) the entire iraqi mess could have been avoided – saddam was boxed in and while a horrific dictator – he and his horrible male spawn – he wasn’t ‘outside the box’ at all and was in fact, as known to everybody for years (but dismissed by gee dubya and prick cheney and their minions) he was actually NOT allowing al qeada etc into iraq or helping them – he was keeping them out – ‘we’ should have left advisors and ‘helpers’ in afghanistan after bringing down the taliban gommint for their role in 9/11 and moved no further – imagine how much money, how many lives, how fewer terrorists there’d have been and would be today except for gee dubya and prick cheney and their minions’ angry greedy desire to hit saddam just because he dissed old man bush in the 90s – and grab at those literally multi-billion dollar military and oil contracts, eh? (h) finally (sorry to have gone on so long – i’d intended to just make a couple of points but apparently i had more of ‘em in my hay-ed than i'd first thought) my main ‘little lol shaking head’ at the entire situation is that people who believe themselves to be christians are the ones warring and applauding and making excuses etc but no one can actually be a follower or ‘disciple’ of someone or some god(s) if they do what the person/god(s) told them not to do, and don’t do what the person/god(s) told them to do – i’m not the one who wrote or said ‘thou shall not kill’ and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and ‘you who are without sin cast the first stone’ and (when specifically asked what one should do when struck on the cheek by another) ‘turn and offer him the other’ and ‘that which you do to the least of them (often quoted as ‘my brothers’ but basically the folks gathered around) you do to me’ and ‘those who live by the sword shall die by the sword’ (and let’s not forget jesus being specifically asked about paying taxes to the roman gommint and saying ‘give to caesar what is caeser’s and give to god what is god’s’ (just a little jab at the angry anti-every-tax-there-is crowd out there) and also said that this life was immaterial because what really mattered was the life to come. and excuse me for saying, in closing, that no, it’s not all good. some of it is really, really bad, isn't it? [ccf]
01/17/15: the gal behind the counter at starbucks yesterday morning asked me, 'are you a professor?' probably because i need a shave and a haircut and apparently middle-aged unkempt guys are always professors on tv. so i said, 'no, i don't profess anything anymore. prison is just too hard on a sensitive disposition. i swear to god, though, if they ever hand me one of those three strikes life sentences, i'll take the whole god damned courthouse down with me... room for cream, please. oh, and a buttermilk bisquit.' -ccf
It's Monday the 13th -- You kids be careful out there, y'heyah?!!
Religious Bias Issues Debated After Atlanta Mayor's Dismissal of Fire Chief
From: Christopher Corbett-Fiacco
Editor, New York Times:
According to the above-titled article in today's NYT, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran is quoted as having said, "I am heartbroken that I will no longer be able to serve the city and the people I love as fire chief, for no reason other than my Christian faith," after having been fired by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed for having distributed a "Christian self-help book" stating that "homosexual acts" are "vile, vulgar and inapporpriate."
To which I reply: No, Mr. Cochran, your religious beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with it. You were fired because you took advantage of your position of authority to spread your religious message around the department.
If your supervisor was an extreme right wing 'Christian' who fervently believed that 'the races must not mix' (and yeah, they're out there) and handed out pamphlets saying so, s/he would also deserve to be fired. Period.
If it's imperative to you that you be free to spread your religious opinions around your workplace, then take responsibility for your own decisions and actions, and forego secular, non-religious employment, because it's not for you.
There are many religious communities which would doubtless welcome firefighters and administrators with religious fervor like yourself, such as those polygamist groups in Texas and Utah with the women (including thirteen year-old 'brides') who dress in 19th century Old West garb. Check them out, you'd probably fit in quite well.
look, i've said it before and i'll said it again: THE TOILET PAPER GOES OVER LIKE A WATERFALL, NOT UNDER LIKE SOME OTHER THING THAT ISN'T LIKE A WATERFALL. (and, again, i am unanimous in that.) -ccf
01/10/15: he goes much further than i would but i share his basic premise -- it may make people feel good to presume 'i am the victim' but (a) not unless you've done exactly what s/he did and suffered the same way and (b) not unless you [the keith olbermans etc amongst 'em] have been willing to use the word 'fuck' etc on camera as often as you do in private and are willing to show/speak about making-fun-of-jesus stmts/cartoons, which you're not because you [and all the rest of us] self-censor all the live long day in the public sphere [and with our parents and grandparents and kids in attendance, no?] and especially today YOU ARE NOT AHMED unless you too volunteered to put your life on the line for other people -- i would never presume to say 'I AM THE DEAD COP' who was executed by a direct shot to the head as he lay on the sidewalk after having tried to thwart the assassins' escape. -ccf
I AM NOT CHARLIE HEBDO
by David Brooks 01/08/15
The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.
Public reaction to the attack in Paris has revealed that there are a lot of people who are quick to lionize those who offend the views of Islamist terrorists in France but who are a lot less tolerant toward those who offend their own views at home.
Just look at all the people who have overreacted to campus micro-aggressions. The University of Illinois fired a professor who taught the Roman Catholic view on homosexuality. The University of Kansas suspended a professor for writing a harsh tweet against the N.R.A. Vanderbilt University derecognized a Christian group that insisted that it be led by Christians.
Americans may laud Charlie Hebdo for being brave enough to publish cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, but, if Ayaan Hirsi Ali is invited to campus, there are often calls to deny her a podium.
So this might be a teachable moment. As we are mortified by the slaughter of those writers and editors in Paris, it’s a good time to come up with a less hypocritical approach to our own controversial figures, provocateurs and satirists.
The first thing to say, I suppose, is that whatever you might have put on your Facebook page yesterday, it is inaccurate for most of us to claim, Je Suis Charlie Hebdo, or I Am Charlie Hebdo. Most of us don’t actually engage in the sort of deliberately offensive humor that that newspaper specializes in.
We might have started out that way. When you are 13, it seems daring and provocative to “épater la bourgeoisie,” to stick a finger in the eye of authority, to ridicule other people’s religious beliefs.
But after a while that seems puerile. Most of us move toward more complicated views of realty and more forgiving views of others. (Ridicule becomes less fun as you become more aware of your own frequent ridiculousness.) Most of us do try to show a modicum of respect for people of different creeds and faiths. We do try to open conversations with listening rather than insult.
Yet, at the same time, most of us know that provocateurs and other outlandish figures serve useful public roles. Satirists and ridiculers expose our weakness and vanity when we are feelng proud. They puncture the self-puffery of the successful. They level social inequality by bringing the mighty low. When they are effective they help us address our foibles communally, since laughter is one of the ultimate bonding experiences.
Moreover, provocateurs and ridiculers expose the stupidity of the fundamentalists. Fundaentalists are people who take everything literally. They are incapable of multiple viewpoints. They are incapable of seeing that while their religion may be worthy of the deepest reverence, it is also true that most religions are kind of weird. Satirists expose those who are incapable of laughing at themselves and teach the rest of us that we probably should.
If you try to pull off this delicate balance with law, speech codes and banned speakers, you’ll end up with crude censorship and a strangled conversation. It’s almost always wrong to try to suppress speech, erect speech codes and disinvite speakers.
Fortunately, social manners are more malleable and supple than laws and codes. Most soieties have successfully maintained standards of civility and respect while keeping open avenues for those who are funny, uncivil and offensive.
In most societies, there’s the adults’ table and there’s the kids’ table. The people who read Le Monde or the establishment organs are at the adults’ table. The jesters, the holy fools and people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are at the kids’ table. They’re not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.
Healthy societies, in other words, don’t suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect.
Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct.
The massacre at Charlie Hebdo should be an occasion to end speech codes. And it should remind us to be legally tolerant toward offensive voices, even as we are socially discriminating.
11/25/2014: i guess i might as well put my eighteen cents worth into the mix: every single case is not the same. trayvon martin was stalked by a vigilante who confronted him with a gun and shot him dead when he did what anybody would do -- fight for his life -- and the asshole got away with murder. there HAVE been police shootings (and old-white-fucker shootings) of unarmed and NOT DANGEROUS african-americans and hispanics etc, AND THOSE ARE THE CASES THAT DESERVE THIS KIND OF ATTENTION BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE BEING KILLED WITHOUT HAVING 'PROVOKED' ANYTHING. but this liberal progressive looks at the specific circumstances of each case, and in this case, the most telling thing is that there was another african-american young man RIGHT BESIDE MICHAEL BROWN, so we have TWO PEOPLE WHOSE BEHAVIOR WE CAN SPECIFICALLY LOOK AT AND SEE WHAT LED TO WHAT: michael brown stole a fistful of cigarellos, or whatever they're called, and handed some to his friend, who put them back on the counter and said 'i don't do that' -- mr brown literally grabbed a little asian man by the throat and pushed him back violently when the asian proprietor of the store ran after him to get the items back, and then when the guy came after him again, brown made that 'i'm bigger than you are' aggressive forward movement and the littler man backed off but did call the cops -- mr brown and his friend were both walking in the street and were told by the cop to get out of the street onto the sidewalk (do we all get to walk down the middle of the street, impeding traffic and possibly getting hit by a car which then results in who knows what injuries/lawsuits/police involvement?) -- mr brown's friend got onto the sidewalk and was not injured, arrested, or killed -- mr brown reached into the cop car (never a good idea) and 'tussled' with the cop -- the cop did not attempt to pull him into the cop car through the driver's side window -- no cop would EVER do such a thing -- by reaching into a cop car and 'tussling' with a cop, that's assaulting a police officer -- the cop drew his gun and fired (what would you do? let mr brown assault you through your open cop car window?) and then mr brown ran -- the cop gave chase (that's what they're trained to do, and how safe would any of us feel if cops just let people run off without chase when they've assaulted a police officer after a 'strong arm robbery'?) and by witness accounts, apparently backed up by audio, the cop shot at him as he ran -- mr brown then turned around and (depending on which of a half dozen witnesses you believe) he either (a) stood still with his arms at his side (b) stood still with his arms raised in surrender (c) stood still with his arms out in front of him (d) ran toward the cop (according to AFRICAN-AMERICAN WITNESSES who will NOT want their names released, i'm sure) and the cop shot mr brown in order to stop a robbery suspect who'd just assaulted him, from barreling over him and, what, possibly getting his gun, shooting the cop, shooting other people? I AM BY NO MEANS AN APOLOGIST FOR THE POWERS THAT BE but every single shooting of an 'unarmed' african-american ADULT by a white cop is not exactly the same as every other one, and by trying to make an innocent 'gentle giant' (the first description of mr brown i heard on tv from his friend who was with him in that store and on that street -- before seeing the video of mr brown stealing the cigars and grabbing the little asian man by the throat and pushing him back and then taking a bullying stance) trying to claim that a bully who assaulted a cop was a mere innocent child callously murdered by a racist cop, does not make it so. BIG FACTS TO THINK ABOUT AND EVEN BIGGER QUESTION TO ANSWER, in my humble opinion: (1) what did mr brown do, and what did mr brown's friend/companion do [remember, there were TWO young african-american men standing side by side in that little store and in the street] and (2) where are each one of them today -- and their family members, and the community in terms of what happened to each of them re how each one of them acted? at the risk of losing friends, mr brown's actions led directly to his own death. that cop was not out to 'get' some black kid, and i am absolutely honestly willing to bet that ANY one of us IN THAT COP'S POSITION would also have shot him as he came running toward us after having just assaulted us after having just robbed a convenience store and refusing an order to simply get out of the street and get onto the sidewalk. and i also think that there's a huge risk with the idea that EVERY SITUATION IS EXACTLY THE SAME, because they're not, and the next time there really IS a case in which it's obvious that some white guy, whether a cop or not (or a hispanic-or-otherwise ethnic neighborhood vigilante) just outright kills some black kid, like trayvon martin (also, perhaps, compare his 'movements' and situation with michael brown's 'movements' and situation?), then THAT kid gets lumped in with a guy who stole some piddling shit, bullied the store owner, reached into a cop car and assaulted the cop, etc, and frankly, trayvon martin and others like him WHO HAVE BEEN MURDERED WITHOUT HAVING DONE ANYTHING TO ANYBODY, they deserve better. it also runs the risk of losing the sympathy of other people, whether white or asian or hispanic or whatever-have-you, when another situation like trayvon martin's murder comes around, because they're not all exactly the same. so, for what it's worth, that's my take on it and i'm not going to go on and on (as if i haven't already) except to say that it really is very sad, but that's the way things go sometimes when you tussle with a cop who has a gun. meanwhile, i personally am really VERY interested in reading as much as possible about what the grand jury heard, esp re witnesses, whose accounts are NOT video tapes -- the memory is a very strange thing, and what to do when ten people give you four versions of what happened? the benefit of the doubt in such situations HAS to go to the 'accused' if a bunch of people each tell you they saw exactly what happened, and you get four different stories of what happened.
11/09/2014: it really is almost always a matter of having the funds to purchase representation more so than having a meritorious matter to bring before the court, but who knows, eh? i've sent out a couple of dozen or more letters to attys in the albany and nyc areas and that's all i'm going to to -- if something pans out, it pans out -- if not; it doesn't, and i will not be obsessing on it. i do intend to begin writing my memoirs shortly, anyway, and have every reason to believe that, esp in today's memoir-as-big-biz climate, my life stories will find a place on the shelf. so we'll see.
November 7, 2014
The Law Offices of…
RE: Representation Sought re Malicious Prosecution Suit re Defamation Suit Dropped “With Prejudice”
Dear Mesdames and/or Sir(s):
I am writing in order to ascertain whether or not you would have any interest in speaking with me regarding my desire to file a lawsuit against my maternal cousin after his having dropped his suit (“with prejudice” – I think – whichever phrase indicates his having forfeited his right to resurrect the suit) against me and my 84 year-old mother, particularly in light of circumstances as briefly outlined below.
A brief recent personal history that might play into your decision is the fact that, after over thirty years in Boston, Seattle, and (for the past 12 years) San Diego (I was born in Troy in 1961 and raised in Tribes Hill) I moved back to this area on my brother’s promise of a job with housing re project management of the conversion of a Broadalbin two-story school building to senior apartments – my having worked in the field on and off for over twenty-five years – to be told only upon my arrival after ten days on the road, that “it fell through” (a debatable depiction of a situation in which he refuses to accept available government grant monies because he does not wish to hire union labor while his own net worth is doubtless over a quarter of a million dollars re properties and insurance brokerage firm in Amsterdam) and, having therefore found myself stuck here without a job, a home (my parents did help me to secure the apartment in which I currently reside), without friends or access to necessary medical care, etc, I plan to sell my car in order to return to San Diego before the new year.
(1) I have no funds whatsoever to provide a retainer or for any outlay of cash whatsoever, but, as I am basically indigent at present, I should be allowed by New York State to file the tort without paying court costs, and can certainly either be billed on an hourly basis, with the prospective defendant (see directly below) coughing up my legal fees upon settlement/judgment, or would be fully prepared to pay an attorney 40% of settlement if s/he were to take the case on a contingency basis.
(2) My cousin, Michael A. Calacone (the prospective defendant) does have substantial assets which must be valued at over a quarter of a million dollars or more, as they include owning outright four parcels of property in Watervliet, as follows (I have saved to my pc and can provide, if requested, a copy of the deed, which is available online at https://access.albanycounty.com/clerk/deedsandmortgages/ClerkDocumentDetails.aspx): Lot [redacted here] and [redacted here] – one of which has a two-family house upon it, in the upper ‘flat’ of which he resides @ [redacted], and the other an undeveloped lot, which he apparently purchased for ten dollars from his paternal aunt and uncle in 1994, as well as Lots [redacted here] and [redacted here] which are, I believe, properties around the corner with garages on them.
Mr. Calacone is probably in his mid-60s, has worked steadily for the State of New York for some twenty years, was married once and divorced over twenty years ago, and has one adult daughter in her thirties. He does not appear in any manner whatsoever to live above his means and does not appear to spend much money at all.
Mr. Calacone is “0 for 4” – having lost an appeal of a judgment regarding monies related to the sale of the home he had once shared with his wife, upon its foreclosure; and having apparently also lost or dropped suits v his employers, The General Electric Company, and The State of New York, as well as, most recently, me (and my mother – which sounds like a play, but isn’t, and won’t be, I assure you.)
(3) While there may well be no such thing as ‘an open and shut case,' I believe mine comes as close as possible re malicious prosecution because I can demonstrate to judge and/or jury that when Mr. Calacone, through attorney [redacted here] – who did not represent him in the matter, probably after having received my 15 page response as well as responses from the two other family members whom Mr. Calacone had at that time in December, 2011, initially threatened to sue – his sister and a cousin’s son – who is himself a lawyer – when Mr. Calacone threatened to sue us three for defamation regarding family correspondence about a family emergency (which, unless I am grossly mistaken, has been ruled by the U.S. Supreme Courts to constitute protected speech) regarding Mr. Calacone’s having placed his mother (my mother’s sister, my aunt) into a very low-grade nursing home without her express consent (after having picked her up from the hospital after a fall while in his care, but rather than bringing her back to the highly-rated assisted living facility which she had loved living in), my 15 page letter noted all manner of situations in which Mr. Calacone had shown thoughtlessness and outright neglect toward his mother in the presence of over a dozen family members who would have testified in court, if need be – Here, in fact, is a true and telling quote from that letter (a copy of which I do have and can provide):
“In fact, it is my opinion as well as that of others that your client has, through his own attitudes, behaviors and statements these many decades, rendered himself ‘libel-proof.’ His reputation generally, and most particularly within our family and most directly with regard to the matter at hand, is so tarnished that it couldn’t have been brought any lower by any statement made by me.”
I ended my letter (dated December 15, 2011) with the following paragraph:
“Finally, I believe it my duty at this time to hereby inform you both, Mr. [redacted] and Mr. Calacone, that I have for two decades been under the care of physicians for the treatment of migraine headache and that I have for two decades been under the care of psychiatric professionals for the treatment of long-term depression and anxiety/panic disorder, for which I take medication on a daily basis. I inform you thusly and specifically because, as claims against me regarding defamation of Mr. Calacone are clearly without substance and could only form the basis of a non-meritorious action, I advise you both that any further communication whatsoever from you to me regarding such claims, as well as the filing of non-meritorious legal action against me, will, under the circumstances, clearly constitute your having decided rationally, deliberately and with malice aforethought to join together in order to engage in an intentional campaign of harassment against me for no other purpose than to cause me harm. Let me state it emphatically: Any further communication from you to me or action taken against me with regard to the matter at hand will now clearly demonstrate that you have done so with the express intent and purpose of harassing me for the sole purpose of causing me emotional distress, mental anguish, and physical pain. I have these past days alone suffered migraine, increased anxiety and outright panic attacks while mustering this necessary defense of my statements, intentions, actions and character against your baseless charges and unprovoked assault. If forced to do so, I will take advantage of every remedy provided for and available to me under the law in order to mitigate against any harm you mean to do me and to seek recompense for any injuries sustained.”
(4) I would also like to take action against the attorney who ultimately represented him, Salvator Ferlazzo, as regards New York State Bar rules and regs re filing non-meritorious and malicious torts, as any attorney practicing law in any US state, must have, or should have, known that the emails I sent to my family members regarding a family emergency while her aged siblings, daughter, and nieces and nephews were making frantic telephone calls to one another and to Mr. Calacone in order to attempt to ascertain her condition and the viability of having her situated elsewhere while Mr. Calacone refused to share any information whatsoever with anyone and uttered the refrain over and over again like a battle cry, “I have power-of-attorney!” – were indeed protected speech, which therefore suggests that Mr. Ferlazzo’s behavior in taking on and filing Mr. Calacone’s action against me, was not merely unprofessional, but malicious, and both men have caused me great mental, emotional and physical pain and suffering, as can be attested to by family, friends, and medical professionals.
I do appreciate and thank you for your time and consideration with regard to this matter, and would be most grateful if you would utilize the enclosed SASE to inform me by note (no formalities necessary) if your decision is against speaking with or representing me in this matter.
and re NYS DMV F-U-C-K-D (yeah, i know i left out the 'e' but one more syllable would've destroyed the disneyesque beat -- i'm holding off on the 'I H8 New York State' t-shirts until further notice -- and not only does it always amaze me how quickly one hears from one's elected officials at vote-gittin' time, as evinced (not 'evidenced' but 'evinced') by the letters which follow these two, but funny (?) too that i never did hear a peep from nys dmv commish falala, but the final outcome?...
apparently, although i had enough 'points' to get an nys license the first time i visited the fonda new york office in may (under the stewardship of 'patty the supervisor' [the woman who called for security before telling me there was 'an issue' i needed to resolve in ca before nys dmv could give me a license]) my license was suspended in california in june because i hadn't renewed it within 90 days of expiration -- so, actually, ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL of this SHIT could have been avoided if only the gal at the fonda nys dmv had realized that i had enough 'points' accumulated on my first visit in may instead of telling me that i needed another form of 'point accumulation' such as a life insurance policy of two years' standing or longer, etc -- AND MY LICENSE WOULDN'T HAVE THEN BEEN SUSPENDED IN CALIFORNIA RE NON-RENEWAL, which, apparently, it is now, and so now i have to figure out all of that shit, probably by doing what i should have done when i first got here to learn that the property mgmt project (with housing, which i moved from my 12 yrs in san diego to here to take on re my brother lee and me shaking hands on the deal during last year's xmas visit) "fell though" (which he didn't even have the balls to tell me himself, but which my parents did finally tell me just before i left a hotel in michigan for the final few hours' of the 10 days' drive which brought me to a local nys best western with two cats with diahhrea from the stress of 10 days on the road, and nothing left to me but what i put in the car to drive here...) and it never has actually 'fallen through' -- it's just that he's such a right wing republicanazi that he refuses to accept tens of thousands of dollars in state and federal grant monies he qualifies for re the conversion of an incredibly well-built and amazingly-remodeled two-story brick school building with offices and sports court/auditorium, parking lot and HUGE piece of land surrounding it (w/elevator and plumbing in every room!) to senior housing bldg w/solar power etc -- funding which he could STILL get but refuses to accept BECAUSE THEY'D REQUIRE HIM TO HIRE UNION LABORERS AND OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH MY HEAVENS why it's the unions and the democrats and hillary and the chinese suing the auriesville shrine who are ruining the country OOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!....
the whole situation, me stranded here like this after 12 yrs of a life in san diego without medical care which i had there, and so much more, is so fucked up -- SO FUCKED UP -- that i probably actually NEED to sell my mustang and just get the fuck back to san diego with sunny and take whatever studio apt i can find and re-start. but, then, what to expect when one returns to the land of the fucked up, thinking they've changed after 20 yrs, somehow, only to discover that no, the fucked up are still fucked up (we all are in our own way, but at least i'm not fucked up in ways that impact other peoples' lives to the extent of telling them that there's a job and housing waiting here, when they already know that there isn't, but they don't bother to say anything until you're already on the last few hours' leg of the 10 day drive, and THEN they tell you...) but oh me bruthermen and sisterwymn, what a memoir it will make, eh? memoirs of a nobody -- ask for it by name (if you want; and if not, no biggie. memoirs being the big biz they are these days, i have a strong feeling that mine really would be one for the books, as they say...)
all of which garnered the following responses, to which i responded to the three in red -- just fyi and entertainment...
i wish to FUCK that people like this would figure out that every 'i feel violated' IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING RAPED or having had a SEX CRIME committed against them. NO, little miss oscar-winning whozits, your nudies finding their way onto the web IS NOT ANY KIND OF ANY SORT OF ANY MOTHERFUCKING SEX CRIME!!!! and if you and others like you who keep claiming that every time 'i feel so violated' is IN ANY WAY 'like' being raped or having had a fucking SEX CRIME COMMITTED AGAINST AND UPON YOUR BODY, YOUR MIND, AND YOUR FUCKING SOUL, you wouldn't be so motherfucking IGNORANT if not actually STUPID as to make such a motherfucking STUPID statement. it almost -- almost but in no way would i wish such a thing on anybody just because she's young and stupid -- almost makes me wish that YOU actually WOULD become the victim of a sex crime so that you'd know the motherfuckin' difference between 'my nudies went viral' and I WAS FUCKIN RAPED. and every time one of these assholes compares their embarrassment or chagrin or sense of 'i feel so violated' to having been raped etc, it just yanks the rest of us who HAVE been the victims of sex crimes back down into the roiling broiling emotional horror vomit that such victimization shoved so deep down our throats and so far down into our very lives and souls that no one who HASN'T actually been the victim of a REAL sex crime, can't even understand. it cannot be and is never 'gotten over' -- it is 'dealt with' as best we can deal with it when we're reminded of it now and again and again and again and again throughout the entire rest of our lives, usually when we haven't even thought about it for a long time but then something, or someone such as ignorant fucking idiots like this one, make ignorant fucking statements like this one. and i'll bet i'll be the only one to say or post anything like this anywhere around the world. and i'll bet that the happy little miss oscar-winning whozits here will be picking up some sort of "sex crime victims' award" or two somewhere soon -- doubtless in fucking hollywood -- even though she CLEARLY has NO FUCKING IDEA WHATSOEVER what the phrase 'sex crime' actually means. i shouldn't finish up with this, but i'm going to because it's how i feel at the moment: FUCK YOU, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, YOU STUPID LITTLE FUCKING CRYBABY CUNT. your nudies went viral? ooooh, why you've been raped! NOT! stupit stupit stupit. (whew! okay, now i feel a little better. thanks for reading this, if you have. and if you haven't, well, have a happy friday, anyhow, then, eh?!)
and you did, of course, read this here first, no?
if 'the graduate' were to be remade today, the word would not be 'plastics' but 'patients' -- specifically, ALLLLLLLLLL of the patients who have been in need of v.a. medical care for the past 15 yrs PLUS ALLLLLLLLL of the patients who will be in need of v.a. medical care during the next two to three generations as they (a) get back to the states in need of medical care as well as (b) age.
I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT ANY COLLEGE AGED 'KID' OR PARENT OF A 'KID' IN HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER CONTACTING THE V.A. NOW (via website for just a look or PERSONALLY VIA A V.A. OFFICE IN ORDER TO SPEAK WITH SOMEONE (always the best touch is the personal touch -- except of course when it's sexually diseased, but that's for those who wish to attempt to sleep their way to the top to figure out for themselves, then, eh?...)
FIND OUT NOW EXACTLY WHAT'S WHAT. my own experience in state govt, granted in the 80s and within h.r., convinces me that EVEN WITHOUT A BACHELOR'S DEGREE FULLY COMPLETED RIGHT NOW (and even perhaps with 'merely' an associate's under the belt but 'working on' the bachelor in business admin which every other applicant is also going to have, anyway) THIS IS THE TIME TO HIT UP THE V.A. AS WELL AS YOUR OWN CONGRESSIONAL REPS & STATE SENATORS IN ORDER TO LET THEM KNOW WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU ARE, AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO HELP...
WRITE A LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and let him know how much you want to help...
because NO U.S. PRESIDENT, U.S. SENATOR OR CONGRESSIONAL REP IS GOING TO NEGLECT TO REQUEST/ADD MONEY TO THE V.A. BUDGETS OR VOTE AGAINST INCREASING FUNDING FOR THE V.A. WITH ALL OF THE "WOUNDED WARRIOR'S" (and their spouses -- all of whom vote and vote heavy -- in addition of course to their parents etc) WHO ARE MISSING PARTS OF THEIR BODIES AND MINDS as a result of what will be probably 30 yrs or more of our nation's consistent if not actually continual middle eastern warfare.
I MAKE NO JUDGEMENT INSOFAR AS THIS MATTER IS CONCERNED -- THIS IS THE WAVE OF THE U.S. FUTURE, LIKE IT OR NOT, AND THERE ARE JOBS TO BE HAD BY PEOPLE WHO NEED JOBS, and IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A JOB or planning for a future with as secure a job as you might ever be able to hope to get for yourself here in ye good olde U.S.A. -- HERE IT JUST MIGHT BE.
And consider this even if you're not 'into' the military or medical fields -- IN ADDITION TO DOCTORS, R.N.s, P.A.s, PHYSICAL THERAPISTS, MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, the v.a. will require ALL KINDS OF ADMINISTRATIVE PARSNIPS such as ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANTS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE WHATNOT OF WHICHEVER DEPARTMENT OR MEDICAL FACIALTY and...
there will be LOTS AND LOTS of folks involved in developing and producing and outfitting THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS IN and NEWLY or SOON-TO-BE OUT of THE MILITARY with all manner of prostheses and heart valves and medications, etc.
THIS IS WHERE THE MONEY IS, KIDS, AND WHERE THE MOST SECURE JOB MARKET IS GONG TO BE FOR THIS GENERATION JUST COMING INTO THE JOB MARKET (and possibly even their own kids when those as-yet-unborn kids hit college age) SO GET IN ON IT AS EARLY AS YOU CAN!
having worked almost a decade in state government, again albeit in the 80s, i still maintain that a guy or gal with an associate's degree working on the bachelor's degree (WITH THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE OF THE VERY GOMMINT FOR WHOM S/HE IS WORKING SO LONG AS S/HE SIGNS A CONTRACT STATING THAT S/HE WILL WORK FOR THAT AGENCY FOR A SPECIFIED PERIOD OF TIME -- generally five to seven yrs -- WHO IS ALREADY KNOWN AND WELL-LIKED in the department IS GOING TO HAVE THE EASIER TIME when it comes to climbing the ladder than the guy or gay who will be a resume without a face or personality whom nobody's ever met but who submits that resume along with the LITERALLY HUNDREDS of others submitted for a particular job ALONGSIDE THE GUY/GAL IN THE OFFICE WHOM EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS AND LIKES AND HAS 2 OR 3 OR 5 YRS EXPERIENCE IN THE DEPARTMENT -- ESP WITH THE CAREFULLY NURTURED but NEVER obsequiously obtained RESPECT AND ADMIRATION ('what a great kid -- just what this country needs...') of his/her CONGRESSIONAL REP AND STATE SENATORS (plural) REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL PARTY or your personal opinions about them.
and so, in closing -- there are jobs out there and out there, these are going to be amongst the bestest of the best jobs out there, so -- GO GET 'EM, KIDS! the gommint is a GREAT place to work for 95% of the time (unless one happens to be in a particular place with particular problems which are YOUR particular problems...) -- benes out the yin yang, cost of living adjustments, grade upgrades, paid holidays and vacation time, medical leave, family leave, and so on, so long as you couldn't possibly give a fat flying fuck about the opinions of those who don't like gommint (and, puh-leeze, working for the v.a. -- who's gonna give you a plateful of that shit at any party? and surely, you, you who will toil with pride and ability while garnering the respect that will be your due at the v.a. -- you will be not only at the ready at all times for such crap but certainly capable of delivering an appropriately vigorous, direct and sustained defensive retaliatory retort such as, "i beg your pardon? surely you're not against the veteran's administration? surely you're not telling us that you don't support those of us who are trying to help our fellow americans in uniform who have sacrificed their limbs and their bodies and, some of them, for heaven's sakes, their minds, so that you can sit safely at this barbrecue scarfing down pork rinds and swilling your home brew without the threat of some jerking jihadist jumping the fence and beheading us all because we aren't right-wing conservative extremist 8th century islamists? SURELY that's not what you're suggesting?...')
and so, again, in closing -- GO GET 'EM, KIDS!
https://www.facebook.com/christopher.corbettfiacco.7 (09/27/2014): no, i'm not losing my mind, i'm just a tad emotional about certain things, such as abuse of the powerless. and i honestly wonder if (who am i kidding, i honestly think that) i would be content to be one of the hunters who slices the bastards' heads off while asking them, right up close right into their ears, 'you like abusing animals, huh? well, here's some animal abuse for you; how does it feel?...'
i then picture us all singing 'another motherfucker bites the dust' as we dance around the corpse.
but that's just me.
posted to craigslist 09/23/14:
CS reply to CCF: God made man and woman to be fruitful multiply. God did not make man to have babies with other men . Sexuality is only between a man and woman . Sexuality is religious for man and woman . What goes on is between a man and woman . It's a abomination sex with man to man. The word gay is a man made word of sin . Gay is sin . The word gay is sin as Lesbian is a sin. There are no gays in heaven . Sin (gays) are in hell stripped of memory of the things they did on earth . In torment burning but there's no fire they thirst there's no water they scream there's no one to hear. There engulfed in there own sin called gay . They eat there own flesh in hell to end the hunger pains but get sick and there flesh grows back again in repeated eternal torment of horror called hel
CCF reply to CS: and the easter bunny shall lie down with the tooth fairy in the glory of the abrahamic god who instructed the hebrews to invade their neighboring tribal lands, salt the land so that nothing would grow there for generation, slaughter all male humans as well as all female humans who were not virgins, bring back the chattel including the female virgins (who are, of course, chattel, which are, of course, farm animals) from whom he took his share both of cattle and human virgins, undoubtedly not merely for the meat of the cattle but for his own sexual purposes re the virgin female human chattel, just like the men in whose own image he made them and gave dominion over all including the human females who are chattel. your god is a truly horrible being. if he was a neighbor, most people within your community would have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with him. you, however, i am sure, would be one of his most self-righteous accolades doing his bidding insofar as gleefully smiting them who neglect to 'maketh unto the lord a sweet savor' with their barbecued offerings. the bottom line, anyhow, is that zeus is the father of all the gods, and your god is not merely a minor deity, but an asshole, to boot. read your vaunted holy book -- it's all in there. meanwhile, why is it that the religiously insane such as yourself and your brethren engaged in religious warfare in the middle east and other religious 'hotspots' around the world are among the most illiterate people in the world? even if you paid absolutely no attention whatsoever in english class (as was undoubtedly the case) your holy books have been edited for proper spelling and punctuation in the languages in which you read them. ah, well, to quote the great barney frank, 'dumb as a couch.'
09/19/14: not to be either maudlin or pathetic, but do tell the loves of your lives that they are, and laugh at the laughable little shit that should only lead to arguments on old episodes of 'all in the family' and 'the mary tyler moore show.' and don't merely love them but cherish them. because one of these days, and it won't be very far off even if it's fifty years from now, one of you -- unless you're lucky enough to go together, which almost never happens -- one of you is going to find yourself crying to every love song that comes on the radio or cd player, or to any odd little ditty you haven't heard for years, but sang and/or danced to even while maybe making fun of the ridiculous little song, and it might happen even months and months and months and months and months and even months and months after the love of your life has died, and even if you really are certain that s/he did indeed know that s/he was in fact the love of your life, but you're either not sure you ever actually said so, or you know now that you never actually did. 'soul mate'? gimme a fuckin' break. if s/he really is the love of your life, then just say so, and ring all of the enjoyment out of every bit of life's mundane minutia that you can. because one day, one of you is going to lose not only the big happy stuff, but all of the mundane minutia you had together, too. and that is the day you will honestly, actually know what the term 'broken hearted' means. because that is gonna hurt like a butcher knife through your chest wall and straight into your heart, with the tip of it poking out the backside of your heart. and there will be nothing to do at that moment but cry and cry and cry and cry and cry until that particular spasm of loneliness and that particular crying jag are all cried out. and that's all there is to it, because that's life.
091214 comment to facebook friend’s comment to my comment on his original comment re life’s painful paths:
Christopher Corbett-Fiacco i was about to write 'except for starting the day making somebody smile'... but then i realized it's what i do, too. the somebody is my case is my 16 yo cat, sunny. he is the most interesting animule i've ever known, not because he's mine, but because his mind is completely original, he's very vocal and makes all sorts of sounds which i understand about 90% of the time, and he does the most interesting things. those of us who are unlucky enough to have demons, have different ones. same with experiences, as you said. my long story short started off well enough with 4 older brothers, a twin, and a younger brother i adored. then an older brother started having mental illness (i think we've connected re this before) in which he screamed 'i'll kill you all some day' and when he was 17 and i was 11, he viciously stabbed our then 19 yo brother and almost murdered him in his bedroom while my mom and twin and younger brother were there. oy. my eldest brother was in intensive care touch-and-go for 48 hours. he survived, thank goodness. the other brother was in prison/mental hospitals for 2 yrs and then released. my parents had promised us 3 that they would not bring him back into the house but would get him a room at the ymca and he could get his ged etc. about a month after the stabbing, while a presumed friend-of-the-family was babyshitting us 3 so that my parents could visit, on alternate nights, my brother in the hospital (he was there for 2 months) or my brother in jail/mental hosp, the man took the occasion to begin molesting me which included rape, naturally (what pedophile would be content molesting an 11 yo when he could rape him up the ass, eh?). then my brother was released from prison (having committed the crime one month shy of his 18th birthday in 1972, he was automatically legally a juvenile, etc,, so no 'big time in the big house'). what ensued was almost a decade of abolute horror for us 3 young ones growing up in a household in which our parents had abrogated their authority (the mentally ill brother would literally yell 'shut up' from his bedroom if we were too 'noisy' and my mom would literally hush us up -- she is a religious fanatic who actually believes that she is a prophetess of god -- that god has chosen her to prove his existence to the world through a historical novel she's been working on for about 45 yrs now) but abrogated their parental responsibilities in the most egregious manner -- a parent is supposed to protect a child, not enable someone, even another offspring, to endanger that child's existence through his presence in their lives and his literal sometime physical attacks and threats. meanwhile, after 5 yrs of being raped by the guy up the street, at 16 i finally had the guts to say 'no.' and it stopped. meanwhile, i was growing up gay in a world which told me in no uncertain terms that i was a sick and disgusting perversion of nature yadda yadda yadda. suicidal ideation since age 7. manic/depressive 2. anxiety/panic disorder. chronic stress. completely and totally fucked over to the tune of loss of job/housing @ over $40K/yr by a man i not only liked but trusted, so that he could give the jobs to the 4th or 5th young woman with whom he had an extra-marital affair, and then sued me (the case is still pending in california) when i blogged about it, as is my right as it is something which i experienced during my own lifetime. alcoholism/drug addition. 16 yrs clean and sober. than last year the love of my life blows me over by telling me that he had become an alcoholic. long story short, the afternoon before he was scheduled to go into rehab on the wednesday morning, he relapsed and his mom came home from work to find him floating face down in the pool. and i might have even forgotten one or two other things that've happened along the way. bottom line today: i'm in the process of finding an nys psychiatrist and therapist, i'm reconnecting with some family members i'd like to reconnect with and am learning who exactly was a factor in the many factors (mostly being wanting to live in a larger city) as to why i moved away at 20. 4 months into my one year experiment in living back here, i've at least learned that i am not living her beyond my lease end next may. i'll move to the adirondacks or perhaps rhode island or portland (either maine or oregon) or lower northeastern canada, if doable, or northern/middle california. and my priority in life right now is my cat, sunny. i have two writing projects which i'd like to accomplish/finish before i die (my memoirs, which i believe will have meaning not only for me to write, but for certain other people who might find it of interest and benefit) and a book i've entitled (copyright, folks, copyright notice) 'biblical bullshit: why the bible cannot be the literal word of the abrahamic god unless he's an asshole and modern-day christians are heretical blasphemers.' and so making sunny as happy as possible is the only thing which i truly, truly feel i should do and need to do right now. the humans in my life can deal with their lives as best they can. sunny is a cat with the intellectual and emotional capacities of about a 3 yo human. and that's enough for me for now, and clearly enough for me to write here in the comment section of your facebook page/post, eh? happy friday, bud! there's something about friday, isn't there? no matter where you are or what you're doing, or not, friday is friday, and fridays really are a bit of terrific, no? take care. -chris.
09/02/14: In a good mood singing along to the radio on my way home from Starbucks and Sunny met me at the door and followed me into my little office here and lay down beside me to continue his morning nap and I opened the Starbucks CD "Mele O Hawaii / Songs of Hawaii" and just started crying when the very first lyrics of the very first song ("White Sandy Beach") were sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: "I saw you again last night / I saw you in my dreams / We were walking hand in hand / On a white, sandy beach of Hawaii / We were playing in the sun / We were having so much fun / On a white, sandy beach of Hawaii / The sound of the ocean / Soothes my restless soul / The sound of the ocean / Rocks me all night long / Those hot long summer days / Lying there in the sun / On a white, sandy beach of Hawaii..." I cried, and am crying still, and listening to the song over and over again in order to continue to remember and to cry until I cry it out again this time, because it brings back to me the most beautiful memory of a white sandy beach in Oregon where Ramon and I stripped down and sunbathed naked because we were the only ones to be seen along the miles-long coastline, and I had known even then, during a weeklong trip we took down and back up the Washington and Oregon coasts when we were living in Seattle, that that was, and would always be, one of the most beautiful and happy moments of my life during one of the best vacations I've ever taken, just driving down the coast, camping out, lying on beaches, driving back up, camping out... It is now fourteen months since the love of my life drowned drunk in the swamp of his Florida swimming pool the day before he was scheduled to enter rehab, and now I'm sobbing, listening to this song over and over again because I've learned that, for me, if I can, this is what to do until this one is all cried out, too. This will not kill me any more than the hundreds of other sob sessions I've endured in my lifetime, including those I wrote about just a couple of weeks ago, when I comforted and petted and sweet-talked into death my adorable and adoring little Bunny the Cat (see below if interested). And so it fucking goes, then, eh? [To see the video and hear the song on Youtube, Click Here.]
the sweetest little girl who ever shared my home died of pneumonia yesterday morning at the grand old age of 12, which actually wasn't a bad age for a feline runt who’d come down with sniffles and colds that’d often turn into upper respiratory infections every few months since the day i adopted her from a san diego shelter as sunny’s little sibling a few months after his litter-mate and brother, sammy, was hit and killed by a car (the last time any of my animules have been outside -- but at least sammy died without really knowing what hit him, as was obvious from the single wound on the side of his head and the ‘testimony’ of the weeping gal who’d hit him just three or four houses away from me and had called and met me where she’d lain him on the grass).
at any rate, i'd taken bunny to the animal emergency hospital on friday morning because it was obvious that the upper respiratory infection which she'd come down with every few months since she was a kitten and was just a part of life with bunny -- vet visits and shots and pills and vitamin supplements (god i loved it when she'd get better and be herself again, esp when she'd bound into the bedroom and jump onto the bed and onto my lap or chest while i was reading or watching tv or napping!).
anyway, by friday morning it was clear that she wasn't getting over this one as quickly as in the past. in the spring she'd lost 2 of her 6 lbs but put back on 1 lb (and i luvluvluved feeding her the moist canned food she luvluvluved and patting her little tiny belly) and this time the sniffles had turned into pneumonia pretty quickly and long story short, after the vet had given her a shot and a round of rehydration and pills, it was pretty obvious to me by friday afternoon that her body probably did not have the wherewithal to rebound. so i did what we do...
first, i made her 'comfortable' in her special spot on the red blanket in the wicker basket under her ‘sun lamp’ (she LOVED lying in the sun, whether natural or artificial!) and i encouraged her to drink and/or eat, which she was not doing, and i even fixed up a slurry consisting of a dab of vitamin gel and a dab of a high-calorie/protein gel and her pill and the beef gravy from a can of cat food, and i mixed it all together in a kitten bottle i’d bought for the occasion (i’d done this before and it’d worked insofar as bringing her around to wanting to eat and drink and put weight back on, but of course she’d never been this bad off and i knew it was a long shot) and i fed her and she drank it and i held her and petted her and told her how sweet she was and how much i loved her and hoped she’d get better, as i always did when she was not merely sick but really sick, and i put her back in her basket because i knew that she wanted to be left alone to sleep in peace.
i had her in bed with me through the night and woke up every couple of hours, the way we do, and she was just so emaciated and spacey, i could tell that her little body had probably gone beyond the point at which it could come back. and when she vomited a gush of watery brownish/green bile that was probably the entire contents of her stomach, i just knew what was coming, and i dreaded it, but i knew of course that i had to help her to as comfortable and ‘loving’ a death as she could have, and deserved to have, not only because she was a fellow being, but she’d given me SO much love and even comfort (when ramon died last year, her and sunny just being there with me), so i cleaned her up and laid her on my stomach and chest the way she loved to lay on my stomach and chest, the way i had of course always loved for her to do (except when it was actually time to turn onto my side and go to sleep, which i’d do so gingerly you’d think i’d have a half-dozen newly hatched chicks on fresh-laid eggs on my chest instead of a little cat who was quite adept at insinuating herself into any position as i changed positions on the nights she wanted to snuggle alongside me, which were probably hundreds and hundreds of nights over those dozen years) and i petted her very very gently so as not to discomfort her, and i talked to her for a while, and i fell asleep a couple of times but each time i woke up, she was still breathing, which has always amazed me when i’ve been in the presence of those who are passing on ‘any time now’ – seems our bodies don’t need to expend much energy when the heart just beats and we just continue to breathe, because it seems sometimes to take SO much longer than it seems it will.
luckily, she was never in any distress or pain, and she drifted in a kind of daze (or maybe she was more-or-less asleep but her eyes were open because cats don’t have eyelids and it takes muscle power to close their eyes and her body simply wasn’t expending that muscle power on closing her eyes, it was utilizing whatever energy it had left just to keep her heart beating and her lungs inhaling and exhaling as it wound down [I often think of animals, including us, of course, as being like those old wind-up toys, when it comes to the energy our bodies have – at birth, it gets all wound up until you can’t wind it another notch, and we’re a wound-up bag of bones and organs that’s wailing and flailing and doesn’t even know where or what it is; and as we age, the wind-up mechanism plays out – we’re kids running and jumping all over the place – we’re teens full of life and love and dreams and lots of whatnot – we’re adults still full of energy and then we’re older adults still with energy and then we’re middle-aged adults with the energy of middle-aged adults and then we’re older adults and older and older until, if we make it, we’re such old animals that our wind-up mechanism can be clearly seen to be winding down and our skin doesn’t have the spring to cling tightly to our muscles anymore and our eyes aren’t really bright anymore and this and that ‘system’ starts to wane and whatnot and ultimately, should we make it, there’s a deathbed on which our bodies just wind down and wind down and wind down until there’s no energy left in the wind-up ‘mechanism of life’ – and at some point, that’s that, the wind-up toy has stopped moving at all and doesn’t have one more little burst of energy to get one more movement out of it, and that’s the end]).
it honestly took hours, and it honestly actually shocked me – i was honestly SHOCKED – at how long a span of time – HOURS – from the time she vomited and was clearly dying, until she actually breathed her last breath. and i was lying there, as you can imagine, literally hour after hour from about 5AM until 11AM, and the sun came up and i heard people about their business, and sunny would come and go, usually lying near the bed, every now and then actually hopping up and coming over, sniffing her, knowing what was going on, i’m sure (their sense of smell is so much better than ours – they can smell water from miles away, an ability which we probably once had, too, but have lost – they can smell disease and decay and that’s often why dogs and cats sometimes either stay away from, or stay with, those who are sick and in the process of dying) and so at any rate, she heaved a few final deep breaths and as i lay there crying, not just for her and my loss of her but for ramon, the love of my life, whose death just last year was brought back to me because there were so many, many times this past year that i’d lay in bed on my back crying for ramon, and for myself, and for my dead dreams of us being together again, and that was the exact position we’d be in – i’d be lying on my back in bed with the sun outside but the blinds still down, and i’d be crying for ramon, and sunny would be somewhere around, and bunny would be on my chest and i’d be petting her and honestly so, SO grateful to have her there on my chest, so sweet, so loving, and there i was yesterday morning and the tears were just streaming from my eyes as i sort of ‘petted her into death’ and when she finally breathed what i knew was her last breath, and i looked and saw that she wasn’t breathing anymore, i just wept, not merely for her or for me or for ramon, whose death seems again so immediate to me and whose loss feels almost as fresh as the week after he died, but honestly, i was crying for all of the deaths which all of us have suffered, and will suffer, since the beginning of time.
i just lay there and i just cried for all of the pain and the loss and disease and the death that we suffer through, being alive. from the first human who understood death and suffered the loss through death of the first human whose death made the others cry, and for millions of others through millions of years up to and including the current round of disease and destruction and death in africa and the middle east and eastern europe and missouri and any other piece of earth with an animal living, and dying, on it. i just lay there and i quietly let the tears roll down my cheeks for my little bunny and for ramon and for myself and for a friend’s little dog who died last week and an in-laws’ in-law who died just a few days ago, and the people and the animals who were dying at the same moment that bunny had just died, and those who’d die five minutes later, ten minutes later, a half hour later, a day later, a week later, and even those who haven’t even been born yet but will one day suffer that pain of the loss through death of a person, whether a human person or a feline person or a canine person or an equine person or a rodent person or whatever other kind of person there is – i honestly felt sorry for every single one of us and was crying for every single one of us and our dying, deceased loved ones.
but my heart kept beating and i kept on breathing, and after a while, unable to sleep (i would actually have liked to have fallen asleep with her on my chest, even knowing it wasn’t really her anymore but her dead body, on my chest, just to be able to feel one last time what it had felt like, because it had always been so sweet; but i couldn’t fall asleep, and i couldn’t lie there with her body on me any longer than i did), i got up and laid her on her blanket, carried her on her blanket into the living room, where sunny was hanging out, and laid her there on the floor and sat beside them both so that he could know what had happened before she disappeared. i’d done the same thing with sammy’s body when he was hit by the car over a dozen years ago in san diego, and sunny did the same thing yesterday as he’d done then – he got up and went over to his deceased sibling, he looked, he sniffed a couple of times, he looked, and he walked off and lay down a few feet away from us, in the same room, but looking away.
i took her collar and tag (a red heart-shaped metal tag – the same as sunny has – with an ‘inscription’ that says, “Hi, I’m Bunny! $100 Reward! Call 619-889-9270” which was my phone number before i changed it last week to an east coast 518 area code) and i put them on the fridge next to the picture of sammy, alongside which i will shortly place a picture of bunny, too. and i wrapped her up in her red blanket and i wound almost an entire spool of string around and around her blanket, and i put her inside of a box into which she fit just right, and (because i don’t have a yard of my own and am not about to ask a family member “hey, can i bury my cat in your yard?” especially as they’ve all got dogs, anyway, and…) i put the box into a dumpster on the property (yeah, i know, but what else to do in the city?) and i figure that her body, which is not my sweet little bunny and i honestly know that, will end up at the dump, and from there, dust to dust.
as i’ve written this, and now finish up and wipe away the tears that have fallen as i’ve written this (as i’m sure you can imagine – and have imagined, those of you who know me well and have stayed with me to this point), my little punkin, who is sometimes known as my little punkinhead, but more often than not just ‘punky’ or more simply, ‘punk’ – as in, ‘hey, punk, what’s up?’ – (because he made a ‘ball’ out of a little pumpkin i’d put on my dining table his first halloween – and i let him keep it because, why not?) and as he was rolling it around the floor, i’d asked him, ‘are you my little pumpkin?” and, of course, without another thought, that’s what he’d become, my little punkin) – sunny – my little sunny sunshine (who is also known as sunny cherry – a story for another time) is sleeping underneath my desk and i am sooooooooo grateful and lucky and happy that he’s been in my life the past sixteen years (!) as healthy and happy a cat as can be. and while I know that his death will be the one non-human death that will REALLY rip a hole in my heart (and let’s be honest, it’ll hurt even more than a lot of human deaths i’ll have to deal with in my time, simply because he’s been my sweetest boy and little buddy for so long and through so much of my life – 16 years of my 53 is almost a full third of my present-day lifetime!) – i will leave that to be dealt with on the day that’ll need to be dealt with, and deal with today as i can.
and today, this afternoon, right now, at this very minute during this particular segment of the time allotted to the life i am living on this little parcel of the world on which i am alive, it really is a lovely afternoon with clouds listlessly rolling around the sun, temps in the 70s, a marvelous breeze, a migraine that just won’t quit, and with sweet music on my little desktop stereo, parents in their 80s whose love and support has never been in doubt, countless other family members with whom i’m reconnecting after thirty years away and, without seeming syrupy (because we all know i’m not that – oh, no, not THAT!) at this very moment, i have 53 years’ worth of gladness and sadness and love in my heart and my head – memories of people and other animals i have loved and been lucky enough to have been loved by, and there’s the blessing.
and, final note, i guess (because the line has been going through my mind for days now – ever since i saw ‘a streetcar named desire’ for the first time from beginning to end, just a few nights ago – and it echoes what i’ve told myself so many times but not in so many words) as eunice tells stella before the stranger has come to take blanche away in the final scene, ‘Life has got to go on. No matter what happens, you've got to keep on going.’
so here i go.
08/12/14: i guess it's also as good a day as any to reveal what i'd only told one person thus far about the drowning death of the love of my life on 06/25/13 (waiting for 'the right time' to just say it and start to talk/write about it), which is that, about a month before his death, ramon had greeted me on the phone with a resigned but hopeful-as-possible, "hi, chris, my name's ramon, and i'm an alcoholic." he could have blown me over with a breath. month-long story short, he'd not only been drinking to excess with a dui and more recent black-outs and a few falling-down-in-the-house or out in the back yard incidents sometimes resulting in mild injury, but had twice had to have his mom take him to the emergency room and spent a weekend and then a week in detox, 'drying out' and testing the waters of rehab. i was actually excited in an odd way -- it would bring us closer and i would help him get sober and stay sober and we would finally have that 'i love you as you are and am committed to you for life and will help you always' relationship we'd tried several times but couldn't seem to get 'quite right' (maybe trying too hard to get it 'quite right'?) -- and we could even, eventually, marry -- the possibility of which was always a dream more his than mine. but within the month of phone calls and encouragement and remniscences and laughter and meandering daydreamy tentative plans for whatever might come our way, on that tuesday that he'd finally come to the conclusion that he actually, really was an alcoholic (it's not something ANYBODY wants to be or admit to being and takes a person as long as it takes that person to actually fully understand it when they realize it as they finally sigh and say, 'yeah, okay, it's true -- i am an alcoholic. so now what?') on that tuesday, after a month or more of not quite really being certain that he was, after all, an alcoholic (and i know that place, and can never blame anyone for taking as long as it takes him or her to move through and beyond it) -- at some point in time after he had clearly, really realized and understood and accepted it, at some point in time after he had called his mom at work at ten in the morning to let her know that he had made an appointment to enter rehab the next morning, he stumbled again out in the back yard and drowned drunk in the in-ground pool that had become a swamp in the back yard. and that's where his mom -- such a wonderful, hardworking woman who'd lived through so much in cuba and here and had come to fear exactly that, and had told him (as he had told me) that that was exactly what she had come to fear -- that's where his mom found him floating face down when she got home from work around 5:30. and i think about him, and about her, every single day. and i know, i really do, that if he had lived through that day and entered rehab on the next morning, he would have gotten sober and maintained his sobriety because he was the kind of stubborn personal promise keeper who succeeds in recovery. and as difficult as it has been and doubtless always will be knowing that the person i loved more than i've ever loved anybody else in my entire life died in an accident which he set into motion because he hadn't yet really understood that he really was an alcoholic, i cannot even begin to imagine how horrible it must be to know that that person actually consciously intentionally ended his or her life because it was too painful to endure another moment, and that's what mrs robin williams is going through, and as difficult as what i've been going through, has been, i don't even want to try to begin to imagine what she's enduring. ho fumbling hum, eh? - chris.
Welcome to TellingTalesTold.com, a Human Resource on the worldwide web where we're telling telling tales about those who may not want us to because... well, after all, who wants for those of us who have a telling tale to tell to tell a telling tale to the whole wide world on the worldwide web when the telling tale told is about them... and they don't want the telling tale told?* But because the truth is true & they who hate & berate truth tellers for telling truths are those who live lives of lies (& spread 'em) ~ Click Here for a bit of "Closure & Kindness" ~ CLICK HERE re CA SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATION of JIM PURDY of San Diego's Prime Asset (Prop) Mgmt re having "ACTED SEXUALLY WITH the CHILDREN" (direct quote from court doc [my caps]) ~ Click Here to read about "SoCal Shenanigans" ~ Click Here for my post about a few more of our fellow San Diegans "Flipping A Coin" ~ CLICK HERE Re San Diego's Dr Gary Woodall of 5th Ave: "Don't Shit on Me Unless You're Fully Prepared to Wipe it Off Your Face When (not 'if') it Hits the Fan" ~ Click Here for the Re-Post of: (A) "Page 1 of 26, your Honor, with Exhibits A-Q" -&- (B) "Plaintiff Jim Purdy's Untruthful Statements and Accusations (continued), Your Honor" -&- (C) "Further Proof Provided to The Court that Apparently even Under Penalty of Perjury, Plaintiff Jim Purdy is a Liar and a Fraud." ~ CLICK HERE to Read "Pervs & Pedophiles: Part Three: San Diego's Dirty Dozen" & CLICK HERE for "Pervs & Pedophiles: 'Part One' & 'Part Two'" & CLICK HERE to "Meet SoCal Pervophile of the Week Hans Loudermilk" & CLICK HERE to Read All About Local Landlord "Paul Perv" ~ CLICK HERE to Read "The Basic Basics" ~ Click Here for my Final Communication to Plaintiffs' Atty Michael Cody when my offer to meet per Jim & Minnie Purdy's purported desire to participate in mediation & settlement (as stated to the court itself) was met with complete & utter silence... ~ CLICK HERE for "we know he is but what are they?" ~ Click Here to Tell Your Own Telling Tale &/or...
CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT HOW "THE PURDYS THICKEN(ed) THE PLOT" BY SUING ME for telling my own true & telling tale as if Americans don't have the right to free speech when it comes to their own life stories ? ! ! Aye, Carumba! Muchos Lococajones, Batman!
AND IF YOU LIKE THOSE, YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO READ "the latest little purdy turdy" & "Ladies and Gentleman, Anthony DiVincenzo!" & "Further Proof Provided to The Court that Apparently Even Under Penalty of Perjury Jim Purdy Is A Liar and A Fraud" & "Purdjery. James Purdjery." & "Jim & Minnie Purdy's SLAPP Dance" & "Anti-SLAPPing the Sorry Asses' Sorry Asses" & find out what "Malicious Prosecution" is all about!
But wait! There's more! Because the Purdy/Prime lawsuit itself has now set us (and so many more of their past victims as well) on a path along which we have already learned some incredibly incredible and important inner insights I've shared and continue to share such as those that led me to send "from the bottom of my heart Regret" and to receive a reply by way of a note of appreciation that just blew me away even as the "Purdys Maintain 2 for 2 Loss vs Corbett-Fiacco and Free Speech" and "harassment continues" while I undertook my demonstration to the court and to everyone else that Jim Purdy is clearly a liar when I began "Page 1 of 26, Your Honor, With Exhibits A-Q" and followed up with "Plaintiff Jim Purdy's Untruthful Statements and Accusations (continued), Your Honor." And so the saga continues with "flyering" and "california dreamin" while the Purdys and their attorney continue the bullshit with which they only end up smearing themselves.
And along the long and winding road that has become the storyline of this part of my life, I post other posts, some fun(ny), some not, such as "wwid?" ~ "August 1st, 2012" ~ "Thurs 080212" ~ "Sat 08/04 @ 11:15am" ~ "WHEW!" ~ "Tuesday, August 7, 2012 @ 11:45ampst" ~ "080812 @ 5:30pm" ~ "excuse me, sir? madam?..." ~ "nobody will remember you as a whore (unless you acted like one)" ~ "week's end project" and "09/12/12." Of course you can also Begin Reading the memoir "Memories of OPM, Ferret Face Purdy and the Farr Irrish Brraying Brridal Whoorr" ...
All of this and so much more about the people and places in San Diego and around the world who think they can treat us any way they want to and get away with it because they think they've got the power and the smarts and legal teams to do it. Until now. Because in the 21st Century, the truth (and telling it to the whole wide world on the worldwide web) will set you free and change your sense of victimization to triumph by doing nothing more than simply telling the truth. And who doesn't feel better after getting something off their chest and alerting the rest of us to be aware of the people and places we need to beware of before they do unto us as they've done unto others? You may not believe your ears, but you can trust your eyes when you Read All About It at TellingTalesTold.com!
* Even when we ourselves [and me, myself & I (sofar)] are the ones we're telling a telling tale about! And we're even courteous enough to provide notification of the publication of the telling tale told to those about whom the telling tale was told... about... as well as the opportunity to offer reply. Because, honestly, fair is fair.
** Our Reader Reviews include comments and stories such as those about "Paul Perv" ~ "BMW of San Diego and The Bartending Academy in North Park" ~ "SOS & CalProp" ~ "West Star Properties" ~ "Mossy Nissan of Kearny Mesa" ~ "Staxxs on Deck" and "Atlas Construction" as well as Readers' Telling Tales about other people and places, too, such as "Highya, Neighbor" and "Brown Hot Steamin' Friday."
© 2012-2013 Christopher Corbett-Fiacco. All rights reserved.